Sunday, June 20, 2010

Don Tortuga

Okay, we've got a turtle.

It's been a week with no response from anyone. Seems like he'd just crawl right back out of Christina's pond if we tried to put him there. ...And I'm attached. So I'm not sure how I'd feel about a "hey, anyone want a turtle?" post on Craigslist, considering how he came to me in the first place.

(Yes I am--I'd be suspicious of askers and guilty about giving him up or prying about living-conditions-to-come.)

So, we committed. We have a turtle.

He doesn't have a name yet; we think his surname is Tortuga (Spanish for Turtle, and just an awesome sounding name as it is), so for now we're calling him Don Tortuga and "TURTLETURTLETURTLE!" but we'll see about a proper first name soon.

Finally figured out a reasonable spot for him, where *I* can get to him and clean him, since this is on me. I spent the day outfitting him with a tank and appropriate turtle accoutrement and plants and pretties, and he seems pleased. He's still in the process of exploring, but at least now he can hide and swim. He still hasn't figured out the basking thing, but maybe he'll get there soonish, now that he has a light to encourage him up there.

There are some pictures from his previous home (especially of him playing Headless Horseman and making Sleepy Face), but there will be proper, well-lit pictures from his new home, soon, and you can all see the handsome tortuga!

Sunday, June 13, 2010


So we have a (temporary) houseguest.

It is a turtle.

He swam into my backyard (...they over-water, at these places) from under a neighbor's fence, and he doesn't belong to that neighbor. Or the neighbor on the other side, or to anyone the manager of our complex knows of, or to the neighbor beyond the neighbor on the other side, or to the man I yelled to from my upstairs window who was in the yard of the house behind the neighbor whose fence he swam under, or the other people who answered their doors when I knocked. (This turtle is helping to socialize me.) My bets are currently on the people behind *our* place, whose fence overlaps a little with next door, and who frequently neglect animals in their backyard, but I haven't seen them out to call down and I'm not sure from the street which house is theirs. And I'm not sure I want to go hand it to them if they don't call and ask, considering how poorly everything else I've seen back there tends to look.

So I've posted on Craigslist and put up a few signs on the blocks of mailboxes for our complex and for the street behind, and we're hoping. And in the meantime, one of my neighbors very sweetly let me borrow an aquarium tank, and after some research I'm doing what meagre I can to make him a little basking dock considering I have no driftwood and no large rocks, though so far he's a little too freaked out to come out of the water onto it. He's in a warm room.

Spinach and cherries is what I have that I can think of to feed him, so far.

Of all the myriad critters I have impromptu cared for before or had in the menagerie we called our house growing up, I have never, ever had a turtle. Or known anyone who had a turtle.

Sooo. Anyone know some home-grown temporary care tips for a Red-Eared Slider Turtle?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010


I should have written this before, but:

California, plz to be remembering that all those rolling blackouts we had a few years ago? were the direct result of privatizing energy, NOT of the Democratic governor we got afterwards. The few areas with remaining public utilities did NOT lose power. In LA (with our public LADWP) we sat back on our laurels and didn't have to worry about energy strapped Edison and PG&E selling our short energy to their shell companies in other states and then buying it back at a higher rate from themselves, consequently cranking up rates to customers, and then not having enough to satisfy demands (in accordance with the scripture of profit maximization in the free market).

....You realize that's what Prop. 16 would encourage. Right..?

....That it means there would be overwhelming hurdles to switch any of the privatized districts back over to public utilities ever, and that it would likely be impossible to ever overcome that again...?

Plz to be considering. Thx.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Whiplash update

The brief disjointed semi-clinical version because it's difficult to appropriately react to the good things and the bad things in the same confined space in any kind of meaningful way and can't work out writing four separate whiplash entries:

MSO concerts (performing Verdi's Requiem) were this weekend, fantastic - Friday night was amazing. Chris said best MSO concert he's ever seen. Other MSO folk thought Saturday was somehow even better; I felt like I wasn't as good, and am persisting let down, but that may be the lack of St. John's Wort talking.

Still haven't heard back about the second ultrasound, yet (plan to ask about going back on the St. John's Wort then). Would really like to know soon.

Allergies are death.

Hands/wrists/forearms have stopped working; awful persistent pain with.. well.. any use. Limiting typing and computer work as much as possible. Also can't knit, crochet, wind yarn, hold needles for sewing, hold pencils for any length, play guitar or ukulele, or hold a book - can't grip anything for any length - not sure what options this leaves me for any activity at all. (What doesn't use your hands?) Hours on end of point-and-click computer work and knitting bingeing appear to have been the proximate triggers. Keep testing to see if I can start again and inevitably fail in flames. Then had to hold the heavy Verdi score in untenable hand position for the 4 hour Thurs. rehearsal, the 2 hr Fri dress, the 2 hr Fri concert, and the 2 hr Sat concert. Yesterday had trouble holding a water glass without spilling it on myself, or holding my fork long enough to eat my dinner. Yes: having to take breaks while eating. Had to get a brace for the score-holding, but am indeed going to the doctor to see how to deal with/fix/cope with this. Absolutely miserable.

Considering going out and buying a hard back, to see if I can kind of pin it open with a cookbook holder to read. REALLY don't want to spend the next week of my life with TV and cleaning* as my only solo activities. (*Failed at the attempt at dusting/scrubbing, too; broke a favorite old ceramic I'd made.) Plus, will have to work, not many options to not. Can't really work without aggravating, though. May still risk knitting night because I'm going crazy, but we'll see.

Did have a good Modesto/Turlock experience Fri/Sat - hit three different farmers markets and kinda' was able to pretend these are walking cities, rather than commuter cities. Felt a little better. Saw an absurd number of people I recognize, for this area, felt a little less disconnected from it.

SF went well; got there and back w/out a hitch, events were awesome, had some good San Francisco Experiences and good walking and wandering, even if some of it was in dispiriting pursuit of wifi or after taking the absolutely wrong BART stop for my frivolity. Loved the trip; hate traveling without Chris. The two bettas I got the Saturday before leaving died the Wednesday I left. They didn't have names yet. Think their demise is my fault.

One of mom's cats--a sweetie goof named Biscuit--has gone missing, been gone for two weeks.

Albert is dead. Tried tree guy at nursery, emergency surgery, emergency repot, but failed utterly. I'm so sorry.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Oh, for fuck's sake.

Dear California,

Please raise my taxes.


Update: letters to gov + senate/assembly reps.

The version for the governor:

Dear Governor Schwarzenegger,

Please raise my taxes.


A few percent off of income to spare devastating cuts to important social services and programs will cost us so much less in the long term; fewer disenfranchised and desperate people, fewer students without books, fewer elderly without care, and fewer people ill with no recourse is well worth a lot more of my money than I am currently giving to the state. I love my state and I owe her plenty for all she has given me; please ask for it. I will give it gladly.

Thank you,
Life-long Californian

Version for Senator and Assemblyperson (altered because they're so publically committed to reducing spending to the exclusion of raising funding):

Dear Senator Denham / Assemblyman Berryhill,

Please raise my taxes.


For the sake of protecting our state, we cannot continue to reduce spending rather than raise income. A few percent off of income to spare devastating cuts to important social services and programs will cost us so much less in the long term; fewer disenfranchised and desperate people, fewer students without books, fewer elderly without care, and fewer people ill with no recourse is well worth a lot more of my money than I am currently giving to the state. I love my state and I owe her plenty for all she has given me; please ask for it. I will give it gladly.

Thank you,
Life-long Californian

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Scattered showers.

So my earthquake prediction was superfluous at best. According to the US Geological Survey's site, there were 32 quakes notable (3.5 or above) in the SoCal region between Jan 1 and April 3 (i.e. before the big Easter quake).

From April 4th to now, there have been 157. (And at least 14 of those first 32 were probably foreshocks.)

So, uh. Yeah. Quakes in SoCal--check. So far nothing big on the San Andreas proper, though, which is to tell the whole truth what I had in mind.

(Decided to look it up because the cats were acting powerful weird, today. But I think in retrospect they've just caught my cold. Which brings me to: )

Gotta cold. :( I got sick once a year, when I was a kid. And I've been sick five times in as many months, now. And I think I gave it to the cats, which is awful, they're being completely pathetic mama'spoorbabiesmama'ssososorry.

And of course, as is foretold in the scriptures, if I am sick, I will be busy. And if I am busy--especially if I am in some way essential to someone else's being able to get things done--I will get sick. Hélas.

I am busier tomorrow, which is nice. Tomorrow, they try to echolocate my uterus for fun and profit to see if it's been secretly replaced with a kitchen appliance or crocheted facsimile thereof to look for fibroids, which were the bane of my mother's existence before she went nuclear on them. She was 42, but I'm precocious.

Is it weird/terrible that I want it to look awful? Does that make any sense? I want there to be an excuse. I will feel pretty hopeless if there's not a ready culprit to blame for the last fifteen years of fun with questionable reproductive health.

Also tomorrow, we're going to the Stanislaus 50 Year Golden Gala - not the main school event this summer that will celebrate the 50 year anniversary of our founding that you .. um.. may have heard about, depending on how closely you follow .. . oh.. LA Times, CNN, Fox, Reuters/AP.. Yahoo news feeds.. . but a Music department fundraiser commemorating the same that should be fabulous (please let me not sneeze through it or be.. like.. virulent and infect everyone around me).

...And if you are outside central California and have caught wind of these things, and wondered where you'd heard the name "Stanislaus" before, well--you probably heard it here. That's us: we're so, so proud.

Please, Leland--and please, Mr. Brown--save us from ourselves. Or rather, save us from our fucking foundation board. - Hugs and kisses, Lauren.

P.S. I require bendy straws.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

That's your horoscope for today.

What a strange weekend.

At the conference we were at, we were crashed by a con woman, two people passed out, nobody slept, and there were a whole lot of jittery, anxious, tense people. And (when we passed through Bakersfield) there was definitely a kind of Biblical plague motif replete with sandstorm and random hard objects coming from the sky.

Plus, earthquake weather.

(If an earthquake hits SoCal today, someone will owe me a nickel. But I will probably not want it.)

In other news: it's cold and wet, here. My cats are still fat (fatter, even), despite a year of strict dieting. I must have said the magic words to the doc, because I get an ultrasound Thursday. The ugly lumps on my mom's back (we thought they were a reaction to spider bites) may be shingles, and I have what I assume are actually spider bites turning into ugly lumps on my legs. In two weeks, I get to attend/man/help out at my first NESsT event, in SF. ...Now I just need to figure out how to get to SF from here. Wish me luck!

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Heads up in case anyone else out there has a credit card with 1st Financial Bank USA:

I got a notice a while back saying they were going to make some unpleasant change to my account, and that I could opt out of it. And that if I opted out, they'd close out my account at the end of the next billing cycle.

So I didn't opt out.

Well, I got another notice more recently saying that they were going to assess an annual fee to my account (because clearly their hardships are so great, in spite of disgusting APRs, that they need to scrape a little more off). And that I could opt out. No threat of closing my account. I tried to email--to see if there was some kind of punishment for opting out that they weren't mentioning--but they declined to respond.

Well, I finally called this morning, and they were very nice, and much to my surprise, just repeated their spiel about their hardships and how they're trying to raise revenue, and... opted me out. No penalty.

So let me recap. There is an annual fee being assessed on every count, unless you ask them not to.

They are essentially hoping (a) you won't read the notice, (b) you'll assume there's a catch and not risk it, (c) you'll decide for the good of 1FBUSA that you don't mind, or (d) you'll forget about it. They are literally levying a fee for not reading a smaller type face.

So if you have a card with them, and haven't already opted out, I just thought I'd let you know that you could without a hassle! Cheers.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Some caveats.

I embarrass easily. Too easily. I am awkward and paranoid of upsetting or being upset. I second guess myself immediately when I've said or done something that could even POSSIBLY have potentially discomforted anyone in any way, or be considered unfair, and immediately work up a superficial case for proof that I have done so and that I should try to fix it.

That has some bearing on the rest of this post, so I figured I should mention up front.

First of all, I'm in LA. I don't ever mention that I'm going or that I've been, if it's going to be a short or busy trip and I don't have time to stop and see anyone non-familia down here. This is primarily due to the awkward, embarrassed paranoia. I hate the prospect of telling anyone I won't be able to see them. This potentially antisocial behavior will probably continue, and I am only mentioning it now because:

This afternoon we were in Long Beach, which is some 330 miles closer to Mexicali than Turlock is. And though we were still some 150 miles away from the epicenter, we still felt the earthquake significantly and for a long time.

BUT: we are all okay. Far enough away that it had left the jar-your-foundation-into-dust mode and gone right into roll-the-whole-area-like-a-tilt-a-whirl. ....It was really neat from Long Beach, actually, just lovely and big and rolling and lilting for a couple minutes. I love feeling earthquakes, but I know I'm really lucky to be away from the epicenter and without property damage (another caveat added due to paranoia).

Second of all, and unrelated to the earthquake, but related to my awkwardness/paranoia caveat and to my previous post:

I hope it was very clear to everyone that I did NOT mean that the lynch-ish racist segment of our population = everyone opposed to the health care bill, or even everyone into the Tea Party movement. (....You got that, right...?)

I think that that kind of hateful/fearful crisis fervor is clearly a core motivation for a significant number of people involved in these things (see also: the upsurge in Christian militia movements). But I DO know that people can have very different motives and lines of reasoning for being involved, completely unrelated to that. I may not agree with your position, but that doesn't mean I think you appreciate or condone what assholes are doing under your banner, or that you think the way they do.

Just... needed to make sure that was really clear.

Okay. < / paranoid clarifications. > (There are more, but there really is no place for them here.)

I hope everyone else is okay earthquake-wise, and that everyone you know is okay, and that our jokes about incoming tsunamis prove to be just that. I am going to bed, and then we're getting in the car and going back home. ...I am sad we will probably not feel the aftershocks. (Write your own caveat here.) Although after southern Chile, northern Chile, and northern Mexico, we kind of wonder if there's an arrow pointed up towards L.A. and San Francisco. We're going to lay by some water and cat food, just in case.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Because I haven't posted about it yet...

So Monday night, when Chris was driving home from class, someone pulled up behind him honking, then pulled up beside him, and flipped him off.

Chris went: ?
And then: Oh. Right. Obama sticker on the back of the car. (This sort of thing happens in Turlock.)

The articulate driver rolled down his window to engage in political discourse (i.e. yell at Chris while he was a captive audience at the light). Chris obliged by rolling his down, too.

The unhappy driver's irate contribution was, "You actually like what this guy is doing to the country?"

And Chris, though enchanted, just rolled back up his window and continued home.

It was sort of par for the day--light, for the day. Teabaggers were busy accosting Democrats in the House, spitting on and yelling ni**er at black congressmen, and otherwise clarifying their position. Health care reform opponents were also cutting propane lines, throwing bricks, and generally making threats to people voting for reform.

...Now I know there's such a thing as getting riled up. I know there can be a lack of discipline at rallies, and that people can act out. But you know what a lack of discipline looks like at the kind of political actions I participate in? Sneaking in a mismatched flag that's not part of the message. Or letting out a "Where the fuck's the funding?," or getting snarkier on a sign than is necessary. It does NOT look like violence, racial slurs, or an actual need for extra security.

Number one rule of protesting: You demonstrate the comparative righteousness of your position if--though YOU are nonviolent--the opposition's only way to deal with you is to become violent themselves. Violence towards protesters sitting in or blocking the way or just being there is an admission of having nothing intelligent to say on the matter, is an acknowledgment that your position does not hold up on its own. Violence is the recourse of badly seated power, because it cannot win an argument, cannot peacefully engage, cannot win its aims by legitimate means, but only by a show of force or intimidation.

The dynamic can be made just as clear when the protest is what turns violent and ugly in the face of attempts at peaceful discourse.

If there's going to be a total regression of a segment of our country into the old let's-lynch-black-people-and-socialists days, I hope that the nature of said movement will at least become a little clearer to the general public. Not much in the way of silver lining.

...But you know what is?

32 million newly insured Americans. People getting to actually go to the doctor when they have a stomach ache, rather than when their appendix is already septic and about to rupture (unlike my baby brother, who got dumped off of my mom's insurance just in time to need major surgery, instead of timely surgery). People getting vaccinations and preventative care cheap, before we get rampant epidemics from untreated diseases and have to pay several times more to treat them in ERs anyway. And just possibly, maybe a little lowering in the absurdly high infant death rates and deaths from preventable diseases. Oh, and a lowering in the deficit. Oh, and of the overall costs of health care. Improvements in the lives of EVERYONE in this country, not just the ones who were uninsured.

Getting honked at and yelled at really seems absolutely worth it. Once in a while, persisting peacefully in the right works out.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Aventures in Animism (picspam day.. um.. continued)

...Because I just finished Bunny's sweater.

Doesn't he look handsome?

And while I'm at it..

Fred and Albert over Christmas:

(Albert looked like something out of Dr. Seuss. I thought this was a romantic shot.)

Clearly, I have spent the last two days drinking tea on the sofa while knitting and watching the first couple seasons of Ballykissangel. It's the only explanation.

Important: tomorrow is international Pi day (get it? 3.14?) and also Albert Einstein's birthday (another reason I had to post Albert pics). Double-geek holiday! We are making pies (HA HA), and if I can manage to get Chris to suffer it, watching Young Einstein.

And Wednesday, of course, is St. Patrick's Day. I may omit the traditional recipe/music/something maudlin post, this year; please take it as read! I will be cooking, singing, and drinking well into the night.


Wednesday, March 10, 2010


This is my fifth attempt at writing this post. I hope this is the healthier, happier, more positive version:

Hair can be healthy.

Hair on a female body is not more unclean than hair on a male body; women who do not shave are not somehow unhygienic, and will not smell any worse than anyone else who does not shave. Hair on a female body does not grow longer than hair on a male body; left unchecked, it will not dangle several feet or turn into an underarm fright wig. Like male body hair, it will grow, stop being stubbly, soften, and stop getting longer, just like all the rest of the hair on every other part of every other body.

It is not somehow natural or inherently right to remove hair: women have not been shaving forever, and in the US, shaving underarms started with ad campaigns in the 1910's, and leg shaving sometime during WWII. Hair has served an evolutionary purpose in our history; before it thinned out, it served to warm us, and it still makes us more sensitive to our surroundings. Thicker patches help regulate temperature and carry pheromones out to other members of our species, which those of us prone to smelling one another can find to be a positive experience.

Women who do not shave are not messy or lazy; they have a variety of reasons for not shaving, aesthetic, political, social, or sensual. They are not by some strange commutative property overweight and unattractive. They are not unmatchable, as far as mates are concerned, whatever their gender of preference. There are plenty of people who don't care, who don't mind, who come to understand, who slightly prefer, who appreciate, or who adore body hair. They have a variety of reasons for that, too.

Hair is not the enemy. Hair can be fun; hair can be pretty; hair can be sexy. Hair can be soft, gentle, and comfortable. Hair can be confident and strong. Hair can be wild and feral; hair can be demure and tidy. It can be feminine; it can be feminist. It can be sweet and it can be stubborn. Hair can be anything we want it to be, and we do not have to hate it or be afraid of it. It is ours to do anything we like with. If that happens to be removing it, then happy hunting. And if not, it is ours to keep in peace and pleasure and thrift and comfort and anything else we like.

Friday, February 26, 2010


Pic spam, I can't help it:


And then Arthur helpfully modeled the shawl:

...and so did Chris!

...And one more vamping it up, just for fun:

I started this damn thing in August and put it down (several times), but now it is finishéd, and I love it to pieces. I think I should wear it absolutely everywhere, for a while, and just preen. RAVELYMPIC GOOOOOLD!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pic spam day, part one: Impossible Cuteness of a Cat Nature

I haven't shared photos in a long time.

I have a lot.

So easiest may be to do it in waves, and just link you to pics on photobucket. So round one:
The kitten album.

If you want to just ooh and awww at all the collected sweetness (or rather, the fraction of the collected sweetness I have uploaded over the years - they just had their second birthday, btw!), you can go there and peruse new and old at your leisure. But here are the new additions broken down:

Alex thinks Chris is a chair and a catbed. (Or maybe a jungle gym, s'hard to say.) Alex is also huge.

They are both impossibly snuggly, with one another and with us.

Talk about love, man.

But here's one pic of them being both impossibly snuggly and impossibly cute. HB (the stuffed Bunny) is in the pic with them.

One, two, three: Awwwwwww

Later today (possibly): a very Fred and Albert Christmas, a very monochrome Halloween, and at least one good picture of my enormous, FINISHED, Blocking-as-We-Speak shawl.

Man I'm behind.

LOVE to you all!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Mom called to point this out to me.

This photo which I link is from the website of J.R. Celski, USA Olympic Speedskating Bronze Medalist and All-Around Cutie-Pie.

Three boys in this picture. Said Cutie-Pie is on the left. And the shaggy-haired delinquent on the right...

(Lakewood in the house!) my baby* cousin!

Is it not a small world?

(Cousin has talked about his friend a number of times in recent memory, including mentioning the Olympics. It took me until about four days ago to put it together. Or rather, for my mom to call and remind me, and me then remember. Go me!)

I estimate they were maybe 14 in this picture, and are obviously a lot more grown up and (at least in cousin's case) significantly less shaggy. Ah, how the time flies...

*He is not really so much a baby, being something absurdly like 21, but I retain the right to label him in this way, because I remember his birth. It counts!

ETA: The more I look at this picture, the more I am certain I have met this boy at least once. Probably briefly, while said boys were transiting through (as teen boys do) from one door to the next during a family function. I could easily be making this up, though.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Memo to Meg:

Your priorities are (according to your ad spots that I cannot seem to escape) to create and keep jobs, cut government spending, and fix education...

And you say you're disappointed to see how far California has fallen, in the 'many years' you've been here, and that you want to bring us back to where we were...

But I gotta' help you out with your California history, here. Or else with your connective logic; I'm not sure where the problem is.

Do you know when California had the best educational system in the country, Meg? With incredible access to higher ed and successful K-12?

When we had higher property taxes. Before we decided we needed 2/3 of the legislature to approve any tax or fee or pass a budget, rather than a simple majority, but that a simple majority could cut a tax or fee, or write in corporate loopholes. Before we started giving corporate welfare to Wal-Mart.

Yes, on the surface, our business tax is very high, in CA. Much higher than other places. But the effective tax rate - after all of the gaping loopholes - is one of the lowest in the country.

Yes, we had very high property tax rates, in the '70s. But now, they're (again) one of the lowest in the country.

Our spending per pupil has also dropped to 49th. We were first in the nation, when our K-12 was dazzling. You know what property taxes paid for in California?


Our budget crisis is not a crisis of excessive spending; there is no public spending left. Our budget crisis is a crisis of inadequate inflow.

So the second point is a point of connections.

Education--all education in California--is critically, criminally underfunded. Access has been destroyed, as individual costs have skyrocketed and funding has crashed. Education is a large part of the public sector - a little over half of our general fund goes there (which makes sense; we have 6,259,972 students in public K-12 alone - add in 191,000 in UC, and 417,112 at CSU, and around 2,500,000 students in our community colleges; around 9.4 million students all told.)

"Education" is government spending. It cannot be cut any further. Even Schwarzenegger has accepted this point. It's been cut too far; we cut so far we screwed ourselves out of stimulus funding, if that's not the irony to beat all ironies. We've cut so far that we've failed to follow our own laws about how great a percentage of high school students we will accept into higher ed.

So I guess what I mean to say is this: You cannot both cut government spending and fix education. You cannot both cut government spending and take us back "to where we were." You certainly can't create a corporate capitalist version of tax utopia and fix the schools.

And I'm so, so disappointed that you have so much money that I'm seeing YOUR ads all over TV already, and have yet to see a spot for Jerry Brown.

(Brown, by the way, was governor when we DID have a functioning educational system, when we were rolling in the fucking milk and honey. If you want things back "the way they were," maybe you should throw some funding behind him, hm?)

Now. Back to my Olympics (and consequently, my Ravelympics: I'm participating in Event WIP Dancing, though if I get far enough ahead, I may take up some Event Sock Hockey or Hat Halfpipe - wish me luck!). Just needed to get that out, first.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

JCS; Makala

TED FUCKING NEELEY - TONIGHT. In frickin' Modesto. Jesus Christ Superstar here we come!!!!!

Also: ukelele! <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

This is my day. This is a good day.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Electric Moose Disco would be a great band name.

It doesn't fit the usual pattern; Chris and I remark on this often, but (three to four syllable adjective) + (one to two syllable noun) is reliable. Esp. in 3 + 1 format.

Viable Frog was the first, and was honestly and seriously considered as a name to use when we started recording the songs wrote (so was Rum and Peaches) before we decided on Paper Cats (which doesn't fit the rule but isn't excluded by it, either). But it always works; they don't even have to make sense, you can just start slinging them together. Here:

Harmonious Finks
Serpentine Pine
Volatile Mercy
Concentric Penguins
Dubious Shoes (that would have to be "The Dubious Shoes," I think)
Carnation Theory
Radical Albert
Windowpane Clams

(....I recognize that carnation and windowpane are nouns, but they do modify the following nouns, so I think that counts.)

Bombastic Bits (also a "The" here, I think)
Delicious Dish
Propagated Fog
Licentious Fig
Blasphemous Rumors (with nods to Depeche Mode)
Psionic Modes
Psychotic Pig
Triumphant Strumpet

I mean, seriously. And all this discovered because of an offhand comment in Zoology lab.

But Electric Moose Disco, despite adding on the formula, is my favorite of the day.

And that one exists because, for two dollars at the Borders, from their Christmas Clearance bin, I bought what is labeled "STAG PINK W BLK BOA" on the back of the tag. ...I will let you just ponder on that a while.

EDIT to add: I recommend wasting a minute on the band name thing. <3

Friday, January 8, 2010


I've been attached to CSU Stanislaus since autumn of 2001. I'm fast approaching a decade, although it looks like I won't quite make it, after all. But that's besides.

I have been here nine years, and I have learned a little perspective about this place. I have watched it change, for better and for worse, and I have watched it grow, and I have seen it cut back, and I have kept involved as intimately as I might. I mean to say that I have a depth of feeling about it and a breadth of knowledge about it, and given that, I just want to say this:

In my nine years here, I have met a lot of faculty, and I have met some of my favorite human beings among them--brilliant, humane, funny, kind, conscientious, beautiful, loving, committed, passionate people. And I knew my share of students when attending--of course--but it seems like the students I'm meeting these days are amazing human beings, people who are paying attention with care and wonder to the world around them, souls of peaceful, powerful principle, with energy and devotion and a fullness of love and spirit.

They are the best of this place. They are beautiful. I cherish these people. I know they are the best of us.

There are arguments to be had and fights to fight and slanders to be unwritten and misunderstandings to be reworked, but I have nothing productive to say for that, right now, and it's eating at me a little. I know I cannot by my useless and restless angst make anything better for these often maligned, much maltreated, roundly abused, often libeled, mistrusted, feared, and disdained. I cannot drag the community as a whole kicking and screaming and blinking into an understanding of what is happening here, certainly not by force or by derision or by woe.

All I can do is repeat this: this faculty, these students, they are the best of us. They are the hope of this community, of this state, of this country. They are thoughtful and they are precious, they are wise and they are righteous and they are humble, too. They are beautiful creatures and they deserve love. I love them, and I have loved them, and I will love them still and more and more.


Saturday, January 2, 2010

Wonderful New Year

It's a time for introspection, I suppose.

(Wow, was that the most clichéd opening line to a New Year's Blog Post™ ever?)

I'm one of the few who liked 2009 moderately well--primarily because it wasn't 2008, I suppose, but that's me. It was like how in high school I got senioritis out of the way in 10th grade, free to move on to the hell of the final year with better spirits and on stronger footing.

Which is to say: after the disastrous shit fest of loss and death and anxiety and existential distress that 2008 was, 2009 didn't seem so bad, loss of promise of security and onslaught of up-in-the-airness besides. "2010 will be the year to deal with that," I promised myself, by way of making way for what joy and comfort could be had in 2009. I made it the eye of the storm, because if you don't take the time for that sort of thing while you can, it's just going to be that much worse when the easier bit is over. It's always best to take joy when you can get it.

But now 2010 is here and it's time to settle in, I suppose.

State of the household:

There have been, in case you haven't heard from us yet, no takers yet on any of the jobs Chris has applied for. No non-takers, either--no feedback at all. I'm hoping that, because it was the holidays, people were on hiatus and not really making decisions for a little while--or not acting on them if they did. I'm hoping that typing this will shame fate into making me a liar by getting us some responses. Hopefully the next week or two will bring some word, one way or another, so at least so we know where we stand.

I've been a busy bee writing and knitting and drawing and working variously, and generally existing in a holding pattern. Lee--bless his soul--has said that my job is here for me as long as I am, though we don't know how long that is. Part of me (the part that is working through the stages of grief about the thing in no particular order) is bargaining--with no one--about keeping the job even if we've moved. Most of my work, the argument goes, is virtual anyway. All of my work for Consulting is--and sometimes there's a lot of that. My job has grown! My work spans two states and three countries! And you know, most of my local work is (or can be) done online/by mail, as well.

But, says the counter argument, what does that leave? What would be leftover for a replacement to do? Only the physical errands. And a very, very small number of physical errands per month. Which is to say: not much of a job to advertise. While I would love to sit at a distance and do every bit of the database work I can, and maybe swing all of the petty cash by mail, and do all of the little assorted things that come to me online, and have all of my meetings by Skype... I can't imagine many people out there are looking for a few hours a month of bank and post office runs. (Although if they were mailing me receipts to process and hours to code &c...)

...No, probably not.

Not that I won't ask about it, though. I don't want to leave NESsT. Not one bit.

Generally speaking, on the potential move-front, though, I can already see myself making my traditional cutting-my-losses gestures. They've been fended off, 'til now--and maybe it's just the weather right now--but I've really never been good at being a social or material creature, however lonely or packratty I tend to be; my loyalties are few and carefully guarded, and the endangered ones are starting to slip, already, starting to be divided into piles. I'm feeling easily frustrated, easily discouraged, ready to stop going out, ready to sever or loosen ties, ready to give away or sell possessions, ready to consolidate plants into fewer pots, ready to use up or give up or put away--it's a kind of slow and cynical panic. Wouldn't that tree be happier in my mother's yard? Should I really go to knitting group? Maybe I should be popping in on that writing group instead, remind myself how to make new acquaintances. Or maybe I should take a class at the adult school with a finite time limit and little chance for attachments..... . .


Maybe we'll start busking at the Borders. It might be a good investment, time-wise. Force us out of shyness, and maybe store a couple bucks for times ahead. Maybe I should start knitting my stash into things I could sell, and have the space, have one less bag to move.

...I feel like I should make resolutions. Like...

No more yarn?

Plot out crafts to use up or clean up debris and unwieldiness?

Focus writing efforts (not exclusively, but regularly) along productive lines. Try to actually finish things.

Vanity: lost ten pounds last year, try for ten more. Or at least five; want to fit in that choir dress comfortably again, in May, in case it's the last time I get to wear it.

Maybe more existential things should go on the list: Like embracing the wanderlust again, so when a move comes I'm not terrified of the leap. Like finding productive ways to divert tension, anxiety, and depression. Like not dwelling on arguments or tense situations in the first place, like not having arguments with imaginary (or at least imagined) opponents in my head. Like not feeling like I have to help fix everyone, or like I'm failing the world if I fail to argue or educate someone out of a perspectiveless vacuum they're existing in. Like letting go a little of the reins and embracing the helplessness. Like not being so afraid.

Get back to the yoga. And stop reading comments on news, politics, and video sites--at all. Seriously. I'm not sure how to get people to stop baiting me, or what the best way to deal with it is when it happens anyway, but I imagine it has to do with a balance between principles re: a topic and principles re: my behavior, and figuring out how much patience is the right amount of patience. I've never been good at that. No one has ever accused me of picking my battles correctly, even though sometimes I'm sure I'm doing exactly that. Not really any telling.

And remember to embrace joy and music and happiness wherever I may find it. Love and be loved and give love. Play with the cats more. Play with Chris more. Play the piano more. Sing more--yes, more. Bring on the wonder.

I hope--I am ever a creature of hope--for the best, for everyone. May you all have a 2010 full of joy and hope and wonder.

Here is a little to start with: Bring on the wonder. - LOVE